October 28th, 2013
05:10 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama nominees could be slowed over Benghazi concerns

Sen. Lindsey Graham will appear on "CNN's The Situation Room" Tuesday at 5pm

(CNN) - A top critic of the U.S. response to the terror attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound said Monday that he would block all Obama administration nominees before the Senate until survivors of the deadly assault testify before Congress.

"I think the story was about the fact that our guys died in a different way than explained by the administration," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News on Monday following a dramatic CBS "60 Minutes" interview with a man described as a British security officer who witnessed last year's attack.

"They died as a result of an al Qaeda planned attack that you could see coming," Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican was an early skeptic of the administration's initial assessment the September 2012 attack in eastern Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans appeared to be the result of a demonstration over an anti-Muslim film produced in the United States.

Graham has pushed forcibly ever since to uncover details of what happened and why the administration appeared to bungle the response.

"Where are the survivors? Fourteen months later," Graham said. "The survivors, the people who survived the attack in Benghazi, have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes."

Graham said he would use Senate rules to stall approval of presidential nominees until he gets the testimony he wants.

"I'm gonna block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors are being made available to Congress. I'm tired of hearing from people on TV and reading about stuff in books. We need to get to the bottom of this," he said.

If Graham were to block a nominee, Democrats, who control the chamber, could make procedural moves to get around his objections. Doing so would require 60 votes to succeed.

An aide to Graham noted that the Senator previously blocked the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA until the White House produced information on when President Barack Obama first contacted Libyan government officials about the attack.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday the administration has made "extraordinary efforts" to meet congressional demands for information about the attack.

"The State Department has worked in good faith to meet the Hill's many requests and will continue to review legitimate incoming requests. But let's be clear, some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes and we find that unfortunate," Carney said. "What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy; it is the case that there was not adequate security."

An aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had no reaction to Graham's threat or say how it might impact the Senate schedule.

The Senate is expected to take up several high-profile judicial appointments and other nominations in the near future.


Filed under: Lindsey Graham • Obama administration • Senate
soundoff (615 Responses)
  1. RS

    GOP = domestic terrorists, nothing more....nothing less

    October 29, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. RobS

    What we need is a one-party system, the Democratic Party. Here's what will happen under that Democratic one-party system: it will quickly divide into liberal, independent and conservative members, and factions will form. There will be differences, but at least they'll all be moving in the same general direction – making government work for the people. There's no need for today's Republican Party as it has nothing to offer except to obstruct the process of governing.

    October 29, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Jules

    So what Graham is saying is that we knew about a planned attack coming, just like we knew that there was a planned attack coming from Al Quida using airplanes as was reported to the Bush administration by the Clinton administration.

    October 29, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Sivick

    oh my god, LET IT GO. if you think we're just going to forget the shutdown like ADD puppies you can just forget it. we need to fire the entire congress.

    October 29, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Dan I

    So another Republican trying to disrupt the normal working of government over a fake scandal or partisan witchhunt. They didn't learn anything from the drubbing they took with the shutdown did they?

    October 29, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Rev. Rick

    I agree that President Obama needs to step-up the pressure on those who could provide more details on the Benghazi attack. However, Mr. Graham's approach just adds more evidence to the fact that the GOP is out of touch with public opinion on how the GOP is perceived. The GOP is already in a public relations hole. Mr. Graham needs to stop digging it even deeper. Like my old friend Dan used to say, "Never miss a good chance to shut the h.ell up!"

    October 29, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. isolate

    Once again, it's Republicans against America's best interests.

    October 29, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. MIke

    Does Graham think that because the broken record turns again that the same scratchy sound won't come out. The GOP is either "Tell me about Benghazi" or "I hate Obamacare." For God's sake, put on a new tune.

    October 29, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Brian P

    I'm tired of hearing about Benghazi. Let's move on.

    October 29, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Rich

    Yet another attempt by a Republican to shut down government.

    October 29, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. tr0623

    Sen. Graham: Waaaaaa! I'm going to hold up appointees. Waaaaa! Ted Cruz is getting more air time than me. Waaaaa! I have to make the extreme right like me at home.Waaaaaa!

    Grow up please. We need adults in Washington.

    October 29, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Terry

    The fact remains – no survivor has been allowed to testify before any OPEN congressional committee.

    October 29, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. reasonablebe

    if graham wants them to testify, he can set hearings and subpoena them. otherwise, this is a childish temper tantrum that ignores the needs of government and the needs of the people for a functioning government..... haven't we seen this type of behavior enough this year?

    October 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Terry

    Wow, from the comments posted it, most are certainly NOT from open minded people seeking answers. Most seem to be willing to simply dine on the rhetoric coming from the WH administration.

    October 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Jim

    "I'm gonna block every appointment in the United States Senate" . . . Lets home Graham and other GOP remember this when the Dem's use it in the future against a GOP President. I assume they won't complain.

    October 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. 1984

    Well you can tell Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina that when Dick Cheny, Karl Rove and Bush testify for lying to the American Taxpayers about the WMD, then and only then will I listen to anything he has to say,

    October 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Transorbital

    So, Lindsey, I presume you threatened the exact same actions on each of the eleven (11) times that U.S. consulates or embassies were attacked during the George W. Bush administration. No? You didn't? Not even once?

    Well, then you are merely a pathetic, hyperpartisan hypocrite. If you want to see the source of our nation's ills, look no further than this sad little coward. Come on out of the closet, Lindsey – it's fine out here in the real world.

    October 29, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Sosueme

    Keep it up Republicans – keep playing this game and see where it gets you. Even if you get a "small victory" in some more inconsistencies, Obama cannot be elected again in 2016 so you are fighting for nothing. At this point, nothing short of revelations that Obama was sitting in a bunker down the street giving commands to Al-Qaida would satisfy you – which I am fairly confident wasn't the case. You may want to evaluate what you are fighting so hard to get vs. what you are losing (respect) in the process.

    October 29, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Lenny Pincus

    Perhaps Graham can hold his breath and stomp his feet to show everyone he really means it.

    October 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. rockysfan

    Please explain to me 1)how obstruction will solve the problem? and 2) GOP still doesn't get it? This tea-turd must go!

    October 29, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. John Rosen

    Does not make sense to block all ppointments.

    October 29, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Another excuse

    This is just a convenient excuse for Graham to explain his obstructionism and not lose votes.

    He'd block all appointments even if the city of Benghazi never existed in the first place.

    October 29, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. sundownr

    Attaboy Lindsey... show them how the cow eats cabbage. With more leaders like you we can bring America down in a heartbeat.

    October 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. regenesis0

    Just keep standing in the doorway Lindsey... eventually they'll give you anything you want to stop acting like a petulant child.
    Hey, why don't you encourage everyone else in your party to stand in doorways too, every single doorway, so that nothing can get done!
    Oh wait, they're already doing that...?

    October 29, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Reporter?

    ksk – so only one side can obstruct from your perspective. Preventing witnesses from testifying and failing to answer simple questions like what did SecState and POTUS know and when isn't obstructing? You fail to be honest and show any integrity.

    October 29, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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